Woman dies after being zip-tied, beaten during Harwood Heights carjacking: medical examiner

Victim ID'd as 61-year-old Ma L. Operio

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, September 4, 2023
Woman dies after zip-tied, beaten during carjacking: medical examiner
Ma L. Operio has died after she was zip-tied and beaten during a Harwood Heights carjacking near Wilbur Wright College, the ME confirmed.

HARWOOD HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- A woman has died after she was allegedly zip-tied and beaten during a Harwood Heights carjacking, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said on Sunday.

It happened on Wednesday morning in the 4400 block of Natchez Avenue near Chicago's Wilbur Wright College. A 24-year-old homeless man, originally from Urbana, is being held without bail for the crime.

Police said around 6:30 a.m., Reese Miller pulled the 61-year-old victim out of her car, placed a zip tie around her neck and beat her head against the ground before taking off in her car.

Miller was eventually caught in Crete, where police said license plate reader technology helped track him down.

The victim, identified as Ma L. Operio, was initially in very critical condition on life support, but she was pronounced dead on Sunday.

Prosecutors said Miller wrote a note, saying, in part, "I am deeply sorry for hurting people." Police said a Ring camera placed Miller at the scene, but video did not capture the carjacking.

Charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated vehicular carjacking, police said Miller has no criminal record and had never been arrested before. Miller's public defender said he suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder.